As Parliament votes, it’s ‘do or die’ time for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

As Parliament votes, it’s ‘do or die’ time for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

LONDON – With just nine days to go before Britain’s scheduled departure date from the European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will ask lawmakers Tuesday to support the Brexit withdrawal deal he struck with the bloc’s leaders last week and to push the agreement through Parliament before a Halloween deadline. 

Johnson has staked his premiership on ensuring Britain leaves the EU by Oct. 31. He has also twice failed to force a “straight up-and-down vote” in Parliament on the deal he negotiated with the 27 other EU nations laying out the terms of Britain’s exit. 

LONDON – With just nine days to go before Britain’s scheduled departure date from the European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will ask lawmakers Tuesday to support the Brexit withdrawal deal he struck with the bloc’s leaders last week and to push the agreement through Parliament before a Halloween deadline. 

Johnson has staked his premiership on ensuring Britain leaves the EU by Oct. 31. He has also twice failed to force a “straight up-and-down vote” in Parliament on the deal he negotiated with the 27 other EU nations laying out the terms of Britain’s exit. 

Lawmakers want more time to scrutinize the agreement and to make sure that even if they do back Johnson’s exit deal, Britain doesn’t accidentally crash out of the EU – a risky “no-deal” Brexit – before the necessary legislation is in place to implement it. 

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Johnson’s Conservative government published the 115-page Withdrawal Agreement Bill late Monday. On Tuesday, Parliament is expected to first vote on whether Johnson commands enough support from lawmakers to approve the deal in principle and then whether they feel there is sufficient time to turn it into law by Oct. 31.

Passing a bill usually takes weeks or even months and Johnson needs a majority in Parliament to pass it, but his party holds just 288 of the 650 House of Common seats.

Johnson has referred to his Brexit deadline as “do or die.”

If lawmakers approve the broad outlines of Johnson’s deal, and the timetable for making it legislation, they will spend the next two days debating and voting on possible amendments. Among those up for discussion is whether final passage of the deal should be tied to a new national referendum on whether Brexit should even happen. 

“The public doesn’t want any more delays, neither do other European leaders and neither do I,” Johnson said ahead of Tuesday’s parliamentary session. 

The prime minister is still waiting to hear whether the EU will grant a Brexit extension that he was legally forced to request, even though he opposed doing so, after opposition and rebel lawmakers on Saturday stymied an earlier Brexit vote.  

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AP, AP Dan Kitwood, Getty Images Daniel Leal-Olivas, AFP/Getty Images Neil Hall, EPA-EFE Tolga Akmen, AFP/Getty Images Mark Duffy, UK Parliament via EPA-EFE Adrian Dennis, AFP/Getty Images Ben Stansall, AFP/Getty Images Ben Stansall, AFP/Getty Images Adrian Dennis, AFP/Getty Images Alastair Grant, AP Facundo Arrizabalaga, EPA-EFE Facundo Arrizabalaga, EPA-EFE Facundo Arrizabalaga, EPA-EFE WPA Pool photo Ian Forsyth, Getty Images